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Huge turnout for Build Benld Dinner Show

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Build Benld “Extremely Satisfied”

Don and Shari Albrecht (Staunton), who came as Bonnie & Clyde, won the best couples costume. (By Build Benld)

About 108 people gathered around at the Benld Civic Center on Saturday evening, October 20, to take part in a dinner show, Bullets in the Bathtub, presented by Build Benld. According to Gloria Sidar, event chairperson, everyone seemed to enjoy the troupe, the play chosen, and the audience participation.

A cross section of the BenGil residents attended, young and older adults alike, and all were having a good time.  Our own Macoupin county sheriff, county clerk, and assistant county coroner were in attendance.  Others came from Sawyerville, Mt. Clare, Staunton, Carlinville, Mt. Olive and other surrounding towns.

“Many stated that they had never been to a Murder Mystery Dinner Theater and didn’t know what they had been missing,” Sidar continued. She went on to mention one man stated it was something he never thought he would enjoy and only came because of his wife. After the show, he would definitely attend again if it would become an annual event.

It is quite possible the organization will want to do this again next year, Sidar stated. There were many people who attended have commented that they enjoyed it a lot. Many people asked when the next one was scheduled and other comments included “We’ll be back for the next one.”  Two large groups, numbered over 30, were in attendance: The JB Mob (aka J Binney) and The Kravanya Gang.

“They appeared to have a great time,” Sidar explained. “Most of them came in period costume and many of them had large parts in the play.”  The laughter began with the opening of the performance and continued throughout the entire evening.  As with any dinner theater, the audience had a large part in the performance and those in attendance rose to the occasion with the wonderful adlibbing they did.  Brian Engelke did a fantastic job playing the murder victim and had everyone rolling with his performance.

Rusty and Gina Fredericks (Gillespie) were runners up in the best costume category. (By Build Benld)

The play, Bullets in the Bathtub, is set during Prohibition.  Poor Buddy (The Dog) Buttafucco, played by our own Brian Englke, is found murdered in his bath tub and the list of suspects is long.  The audience spent the evening getting to know these characters, their reasons for wanting Buttafucco dead, and ended with audience members attempting to solve the crime.

The public was encouraged to dress in 20’s garb and a good portion of the crowd came as mobsters, flappers, and 20’s characters.  We even had a local newsboy (BB’s own Pat Obertino) sporting knickers while peddling papers with the headline that Capone had been seen at the Coliseum.  Certificates and prizes (boas & tommy guns) were awarded in two categories: best costume and best couples costume with second and third places being handed out also.  Mrs. Lillian Ashley (Staunton) won the prize best costume while Don and Shari Albrecht (Staunton), who came as Bonnie & Clyde, won the best couples costume.

For dinner, attendees were spoiled. Italian anti-pasto skewers were served as appetizers while stuffed chicken Florentine, Papa Jodanni’s house salad, whole steamed green beans, Penne Tuscany, Italian roasted potatoes, and dinner rolls were served as the main course.  An assortment of chocolate dipped cheesecake petit fours were featured for the dessert course of the meal. Coffee, tea, water, beer, and wine were beverages hosted at the event.

Overall, Build Benld was “extremely satisfied” with the event. The event was precisely successful due to the great crowd. Andrea Duncan extended her enjoyment on Build Benld’s Facebook page: “Just wanted to thank you for all the hard work you put in to make a wonderful, fun-filled evening. I’ve been to a few dinner theaters and have to say yours was the best. I don’t remember the last time I laughed the entire evening!!!”

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According to Sidar, the acting troupe Jest enjoyed the audience. Members of the cast commented that it was a fantastic group of people to work with and that they wish all their audiences were as engaged as this one, she added. “One member of the cast stated that he has been doing this for five years and this was the best audience he has ever worked with,” Sidar explained.

Build Benld is in total agreement, the audience Saturday evening was fantastic! “We had a great time because of the great crowd,” Sidar closed. Build Benld wanted to extend one last “thank-you” to all who attended and supported the event. The citizenry can always be counted on to come out and support events like this, the group explained. Build Benld wanted to make note that a lot of prep time goes into events like this, but it was made worthwhile by the community support, interaction, and appreciation.

 

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Court News

Macoupin County Courthouse News

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Cases filed during July 7 through July 13. Visit the “Court News” category under the “Community News” tab for other editions.

FELONIES

Timothy D. Conlee, 29 of Gillespie, is charged with aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude a peace officer, driving on a suspended license, and reckless driving in connection with a July 6 incident.

Dylan J. Arview, 25 of Benld, is charged with driving under the influence while license revoked or suspending, DUI, driving on a suspended license and driving 15-20 mph above the limit in connection with a July 5 incident.

Bobby L. Walker, 35 of Sorento, is charged with driving revoked/suspended with a DUI, driving on revoked license, operating an uninsured motor vehicle, displayed registration plate, and expired registration in connection with a June 27 incident.

Dustin W. Gooch, 34 of Beecher City, is charged with aggravated fleeing/bodily injury, unlawful display of a title, improper use of registration/title, operating an uninsured motor vehicle, and registration light in connection with a June 17 incident.

MISDEMEANORS

Jordan A. Black, 24 of Gillespie, is charged with battery/causing bodily harm in connection with a July 8 incident.

Dustin R. Stieglitz, 37 of Shipman, is charged with aggravated assault/use of a deadly weapon in connection to a June 29 incident.

Steven A. Kroll, 33 of Eagarville, is charged with resisting a peace officer, fire fighter, or corrections employee in connection with a June 26 incident.

TRAFFIC

David B. Brown, 58 of Virden, is charged with cancelled/revoked/suspended registration in connection with a July 3 incident.

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Jennifer L. Roberts, 47 of Worden, is charged with driving on a suspended license and operating an uninsured motor vehicle in connection with July 5 incident.

Andrew L. Connoyer, 31 of Bethalto, is charged with improper use of registration, driving 15-20 mph above the limit, and no valid registration in connection with July 7 incident.

Megan E. Bertoldi, 37 of Gillespie, is charged with leaving the scene in connection with July 11 incident.

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE FILED

  • Tasha McQuay versus David McQuay

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Community News

School board disciplines staff member; hires AD and Student Services Coordinator

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In a relatively brief meeting Monday night, the Community Unit School District 7 Board of Education approved a “resolution of remedial warning” against an unidentified district teacher, and hired a new Student Services Coordinator and Athletic Director.

The actions followed an 80-minute executive session during which board members presumably primarily discussed personnel issues. The regular monthly meeting of the board was moved up by one week to fill key positions, such as the Athletic Director and Student Services Coordinator, prior to the start of the school year next month. The district was taken by surprise when former Student Services Coordinator Stephanie Bray and Athletic Director Mike Bertagnolli both announced their retirements within days of each other.

Supt. Shane Owsley said the resolution of remedial warning is a disciplinary action representing “a second strike, so to speak.” Neither the teacher or the nature of the infraction was disclosed in open session.

In other action, the board, voted unanimously to hire Shelsie Timmermeier as the district’s Student Services Coordinator for the 2024-25 school year, stepping into the vacancy created by Bray’s retirement, pending confirmation of certification and a background check. In a separate action, the board also appointed Timmermeier as an assistant high school women’s volleyball coach.

Jeremy Smith was hired, also by a unanimous vote, as the district’s Athletic Director for the 2024-25 school year. In a related matter, Smith’s resignation as middle school head baseball coach was accepted. Additionally, the board posted the coaching position as vacant for the coming school year.

On a motion by Weye Schmidt, seconded by Dennis Tiburzi, the board hired Alex Jasper as a high school social science teacher for the coming school year. The board also voted unanimously to hire Tate Wargo as a first-year, non-tenured physical education instructor, pending confirmation of certification. Both positions were vacated as a result of the sudden resignation of Dalton Barnes in April as head football coach, physical education teacher and social science teacher. 

In related matters, the board also hired Wargo Monday night as an eighth grade boy’s basketball coach, and accepted Jasper’s resignation as a district paraprofessional and posted the position as vacant.

In other personnel action, the board:

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  • Hired Amanda Ewin as a one-on-one aide.
  • Hired Anthony Kravanya as a freshman men’s basketball coach.
  • Appointed Melissa Heigert as a volunteer assistant high school softball coach.

In other action, the board gave routine approval to a list of policies provided by the Illinois State Board of Education. 

Supt. Owsley also provided a brief update on the progress being made on safety projects expected to be completed before the start of the school year, including installation of a new intercom system, a card-reader entry system and shatter-proof protective film on exterior windows.

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Community News

Gillespie Library, United Community Bank to host Fraud and Scam Prevention seminar on July 22

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Gillespie Public Library (Photo by Gillespie Public Library)

Friends of the Gillespie Public Library and United Community Bank are hosting a joint “Fraud and Scam Prevention” seminar at on Monday, July 22 starting at 6 p.m. at the Gillespie Public Library.

The seminar will focus on today’s common scams and frauds, which includes imposter and check scams, money mule fraud and those that target seniors. Presenters will be Jenni Alepra of Gillespie UCB and Kennen Bertolis of Carlinville UCB.

The seminar is open to the public and is free of charge. For additional questions, call the Gillespie Public Library at 217-839-3614.

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